Set in a world where the majority of the population has been turned into the walking dead, a teen boy (Nicholas Hoult) named “R” – he can’t remember his name from when he was alive, just the letter it began with – struggles with what his new state of existence means. He “lives” at the airport, shuffling through the terminal, bumping into the other zombie people, exchanging groans and laboured monosyllables with his best friend (Rob Corddry) at the bar and occasionally venturing out into the city to eat and collect knick knacks for his abandoned airplane home. It’s on one of these trips that he encounters Julie (Teresa Palmer), one of an ever-lessening number of human survivors who live within a walled-off compound. On a trip to gather supplies within the unguarded part of the metropolis, Julie and her friends are attacked by a zombie horde and her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) is eaten by R. As he munches on Perry’s brains, R begins to absorb the stored memories and feelings, causing him to push past his own nature and protect Julie, squiring her back to his airplane. As the two spend time together, it becomes evident to Julie that despite the teachings of her mercenary father (John Malkovich), she’s starting to fall in love with R and her affection is causing him to slowly become more and more human. Could this mean that there’s hope that the zombie virus can be reversed? R and Julie are determined to find out.
Warm Bodies is a movie that shouldn’t work as well as it does. It’s just the kind of a silly premise (human girl falls in love with zombie boy) that lends itself to melodrama and outright stupidity as the whole zombie canon gets twisted to fit the preposterousness. Thankfully, writer-director Jonathan Levine ( 50/50 and The Wackness ) is smart enough to stick close to the zombie paradigm we all know and love while slyly tweaking it in a clever and fresh manner. He’s also extremely lucky to have Hoult as his leading man because there’s never been a more charming portrayal of a zombie ever, in the history of cinema. Also worth mentioning is the always funny Rob Corddry who tames his usually over-the-top buffoonery to create a supporting character that feels fully realized even though he only appears in a handful of scenes.
Is Warm Bodies Opening Weekend Worthy?
Despite the fact that this film is based on a novel geared towards young adults, and the subject matter and lead actors also seem to suggest a teen target demographic, there’s a lot for those well out of high school to enjoy as well. It’s funny, heartwarming, and there’s just enough gore to make it feel a little dangerous. If you’re looking for a good time at the movie theatre this weekend, Warm Bodies is your film.
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